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Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar


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K. and I wandered into Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar on Saturday afternoon. It's newly opened and quite undiscovered as yet. This will change--fast!

We sat and grazed our way through seven of the dozen or so "tapas-style" selections with wine pairings that happened to be on the menu that day.

We emerged onto the street a few hours later, a bit high on the food and the vino, with big grins on our faces.

It's a neat space, very welcoming and informal. Lots of wood with cool stools around the open kitchen space and long bar, with only a handful of tables. The wall of preserves in mason jars works as design and is great fun as well.

No reservations--just show up any time between 11 and 11 and order as few or as many of the tasting portions as you can handle. The prices are incredibly reasonable for the quality and size of the portions. This is hearty comfort food, (soups, braises, bread pudding) prepared with flair. It's all about flavour, folks.

Don't expect a formal presentation of amuse, aps, mains and deserts. The concept is pick and choose. If you want more, just keep ordering, in any order that strikes your fancy.

More on the menu and wine list when I have more time. The message now is--go and experience great value for money before this place is discovered by the foodies and the social x-rays and the line-ups form. As of this past Saturday afternoon, you could waltz right in and have the undivided attention of the friendly staff with Jamie ever present in the background, getting things up and running.

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So here's the menu and wine suggestions as of Saturday last:

Grilled Flatbread with Three Dips--2000 Quinta de Ventozelo Tinto, Douro

Yukon Gold Fries with Lemon and Mayonnaise--Pacina Chianti Colli Senesi, Tuscany

Yukon Gold Fries as Poutine--Chianti as above

Artisanal Cheeses with Wild Rice Roti--2000 Rockford Semillon, Barossa Valley

Winter Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette--2002 Cave Spring Dry Riesling, Niagara

Pate with Jardiniere Vegetables and Celery Root Salad--1995 Chateau Megyer Tokaji Aszu

Lobster Bisque--Semillon as above

Tajine of Vegetables with Poached Quail Egg--2001 Laurent Brusset Cairanne Cotes du Rhone Villages, V. Chabrille

Fluke Vin Blanc with Fennel Puree and Spinach--2000 G. Chavy Bourgogne Chardonnay

Double Beef Consomme with Celestine and Mushrooms--Lustau Oloroso Sherry

Roast Galantine of Capon with Various Onions and Yukon Gold Potatoes--2002 Righetti Valpolicella Class, Veneto

Braised Oxtail with Leek and Marrow Toasts--2002 Vineland Estates Cav. Sauv, Niagara

Steak and Ermite Sandwich with Pickles and Gaufrette Potatoes--2001 Maison Derlann Pinot Noir, Beaune

Summer Fruit Sorbets--2002 Hubert Lignier bourgogne Aligote

Bread and Butter Pudding with Raspberry Puree--1994 Quinta de Ventozelo LBV Port, Douro

Prices range from CDN$ 5-11 for the food, CDN$ 3-6.50 for the wine in pourings of 3oz/6oz/500ml/750ml with prices increasing with pour size.

The Yukon Gold Fries are the best fries in the universe. Served spilling out of a rolled paper cone.

You don't have to order the flatbreads to enjoy them. The intense Rosemary steam wafts across the room as they are carried to ANY table.

The cheese plate contains 5 or 6 cheeses (French/Quebec/Pasteurized/UnPasteurized??) with roasted nuts, warm figs, prunes and lots of Roti. We weren't the only table that had to coax the names of the cheeses from the server. They need to know that foodies are INTERESTED in details. Same with the wine pours. And other dishes. The servers have to bone up a bit more on EXACTLY what the ingredients are in these fantastic morsels. That should come with encouragement and nagging.

The Lobster Bisque was intensely flavourful--startlingly tasty.

The Beef Consomme was elegent and flavourful

Galantine internal garnish very savory--the meat was thick and moist

Braised Oxtail superb

Bread and Butter Pudding--to die for--huge portion--sensuous texture, not overly sweet.

There's also a large wine list by the bottle.

Perhaps K. would fill in the blanks for me??

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I went last night and had great meal.

The menu was a little different from the one shown above. I started with flatbread, pate, and squash ravioli with a blue cheese sauce. The Flatbread (home made pita, cooked on the grill) came with three dips: a brandade, a tapenade, and a white bean puree--all very fresh tasting. The ravioli was nice and delicate with a very sweet filling and intense sauce. The pate was very rich, yet delicate, and, as with every thing else, made on premesis.

Next up was oxtail stew, grouper, lamb chop, vegetable tagine, and capon galatine. Oxtail was very rich and intense, I asked for a spoon so that I could get all of the leftover jus. The grouper came pan seared with a red pepper puree. Perhaps a little plain, but very fresh and tasty nontheless. The lamb chop--minty marinade and seared on the grill--came with a nice jus. The galatine as described above. The tagine was a nice balance of sweet and spice and came with a poached quail egg on top.

By this point I (and my wife) were to full to have desert (there were two: chocolate mousse, and rasberry sorbet).

I would recommend it to anyone interested in eating well prepared, fresh food in a casual environment. I'd definitely go back.

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We went there last night and had a great dinner.

We sat at Jamie's bar, very interesting. It gives the dinner a very

casual feel that we liked a lot. Almost like being part of the kitchen...

The dishes, well described (thanks innocente)

are indeed food for the heart and are trully great. I really loved the oxtail,

for instance. I did not find any *unnecessary* sophistication in any of

the dishes. No truffles, caviar et al ... Food for the hungry. We loved it.

The wine pairing worked and it was also very reasonably priced for the quality.

Will definitely go back there. Given that I work just next to the restaurant,

that will happen anyway :biggrin:


"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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  • 3 weeks later...

K. and I were VERY annoyed when we dropped into Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar yesterday (Tues) around 5:15 after seeing The Producers.

We were told, along with three or so other drop ins that no tables or bar seats were available since they were taking reservations "for the Holidays".

So there were all these empty tables and all these fully occupied bar and kitchen seats.

The expressed policy of the restaurent, as we had been told by the waitstaff on a previous visit, was that there would be NO RESERVATIONS. The whole concept of the place is that it is first come, first served during the hours of operation.


Wouldn't it be nice to be consistent, especially since we could have easily phoned for a reservation days ahead to coincide with our visit to the city.

My guess is that some high flying Jamie Kennedy groupies are too self important to take a chance on an empty seat being available when they want to dine. So he's been pressured to accept reservations.

Well, the idea of a drop-in tapas style place was a good one while it lasted--approximately 5 weeks, by my count.

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Does Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar take reservations or not? I've tried calling the phone number listed in this thread but it keeps on ringing and ringing and when the answering machine eventually picks up, I don't get a message from the restauraunt and I'm not able to leave a message because the mailbox is full! The restauraunt is frankly starting to turn out to be a pain in my view. :angry:

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  • 2 weeks later...

we got there about 8:20, and all the tables were taken. we were told the wait might be 45 minutes, left our cell phone number and had a beer at c'est what. 20 minutes later, we got the call and were seated at one of the tables. the decor is really nice and tasteful...conversation gets kinda loud...but it's still comfortable. there's an open kitchen where you can see jamie and one assistant cranking out the hot food (i'm assuming there's another prep/pastry kitchen in the back).

the menu consisted of 18 items, 4 of which were desserts. we tried about 7 dishes and 2 of the same dessert. prices were anywhere from $5-11 and were TOTALLY worth it. i was worried about the portions...but if you think about it as like going to gio rana's (where you make a meal out of several plates) for what you pay, and what you're getting...it's a STEAL. and we both staggered out of there after three hours completely stuffed.

we had the grilled flatbread with three dips (an olive one, a baccalau one - i'm guessing - and a white bean one), served with a smoldering rosemary branch which gave off this lovely warm, musky perfume. the dips were really nice, and the olive dip was especially bracing and assertive.

then we had the yukon gold frites as poutine...served with romano cheese that was really sharp, and with a grilled lamb kebab on top...soooooo tasty. the frites were perfect...and it was served with a dromana estates shiraz which my partner LOVED. (at $6.15 per 3oz serving, he better have)

then we had the pate with jardinere vegetables and celery root salad. probably my favorite dish. the presenation was OUTSTANDING. the pate was shaped in this rolled quenelle, with two curved toasts on top of this vinegary celery root julienne and with a preserved bean and preserved beet (jk's own, i'm assuming)...the pate was delicious...duck and chicken...fatty, rich...slightly gamey.

maritime clam and lobster chowder was nice. two soups in one. a lobster bisque and a clam bisque.

we had the grilled cornish hen with mushroom strudel. outstanding. probably my second favorite dish of the night. he uses organic meats and this hen was the ESSENCE of chicken. it was done really simply with a nice jus and a small ratatouille of roasted vegetables underneath and fried garlic chips and carrot slices. but the flavour from the chicken puts all other chicken to shame.

then we had the braised oxtail with leek and marrow toasts (i love bone marrow). it was served with a puycarpin bordeaux superieur (my partner liked the shiraz better...he didn't like the long, lingering finish of the bordeaux)...the oxtail was really meaty and gooey with connective tissue (the way shanks get) and the bone marrow was so sweet and fatty and tasty...

then we had the artisanal cheese with wild rice roti. with a malivoire pinot noir...the cheese selection was okay...nothing too outrageous. they served an epoisses that i really liked...

and we finished off with puffed pastry with preserved peaches and caramel ice cream.

the service was really slow. and the plates came with really lengthy pauses in between...the servers didn't know what the cheeses were which was really annoying to me. but a friend of mine works as a server there and was super nice. the whole cost of the meal came up to under $100 (minus tip).

lovely lovely.

and we were told that no, they do not take reservations.


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Probably should not have read your post before eating lunch as I am now ravenous.

The cornish hen dish in particular sounds wonderful.

One of the advantages to living in the "big smoke" I guess is that chefs like Kennedy can be adventurous with the offerings given the population to draw upon.

Out here in Edmonton there is nothing like that. I would love to find a restaurant which offered smaller plates with the idea being to "graze" on appetizer sized portions combined with wines by the glass.

A couple of wine bars tried to make a go of it out here but did not last very long.

The closest I have found in these parts is Divino Wine & Cheese on Stephen's Avenue in Calgary...and if you know Alberta and Albertans you realize how much it pains an Edmontonian to complement anything in "C town" :rolleyes:

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  • 2 weeks later...

my two cents: could be a nice little place...oh, but it's run by arrogant asswipes. we sent this last week, and still no reply...

January 16, 2004

Attn: Dan Donovan and Jamie Kennedy

We are writing to express our extreme displeasure at the treatment we received at your restaurant on Tuesday, January 13, 2004. In case you don’t recall, we are members of the party of 18 whose reservation you accepted, neglecting to tell us until our arrival that our dining time would be limited to one and a half hours.

The booking was made by MN, who is by profession an event planner. There is absolutely no way that Ms. N was informed of the time limit when she called, as she is experienced enough to know that 20 people cannot enjoy dinner in 90 minutes. She was told, however, that although your restaurant doesn’t usually take reservations, an exception would be made for our group. If only we had known then that the treatment we would receive would be inexcusable in any situation, anywhere.

The occasion was Ms. N’s birthday, which was further ruined by an extremely unpleasant server, Nicholas, who tried to dictate our dinner to the point of first, suggesting we not order wine (is your establishment not a wine bar?), next, making numerous rude comments and gestures and last, refusing to take our dessert order. At this point we spoke with Mr. Donovan, who, after quite a discussion, graciously permitted Ms. N a bit of sweet on her birthday. He then suggested we might return at another date—in a smaller group.

Pardon us, but if your establishment cannot handle large groups, perhaps you shouldn’t accept their reservations? Trying to squeeze two groups of 20 into such a small space in such a short time is amateurish and, one might even say, greedy. Since, supposedly, no reservations are taken, it is difficult for us to understand how the group waiting for our table had also made prior arrangements.

It is truly unfortunate that our workplace is located across the road from your premises, as hopes for long-term enjoyment of your restaurant have been destroyed. As well, the proximity will continue to provide Ms. N with negative memories of what should have been a special occasion. At the very least, we feel that you owe her a sincere apology, if not an opportunity to experience a more enjoyable dinner, including wines and gracious service. Please feel free to call her at ######## to discuss this further.

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  • 2 weeks later...

to whom and where did you send your later, v_wang?

is there an email address?

i returned and was also quite rudely treated by the server and host...and i'd also like to register a complaint.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lunch at Jamie Kennedy’s wine bar

Nice tight space with a lot of energy – we didn’t have a reservation but they had space at the wine bar for us. The service was friendly but quite slow – the bartender was doing the work of 3 people. The menu was a nice read and offered some of the cheapest prices for a high caliper chef I’ve seen in a while. I was curious to see where the shortcuts would arise.

Dishes were as follows

Yukon Gold Fries with Lamb Poutine – A “burger” of lamb meat on a bed of fries with shaved Pecorino Romano adding the cheese component for a true poutine. The dish proved a little salty for my taste but was good none the least

Paired with Sandstone Pinot Noir

Artisanal Cheeses – good selection of cheeses

Paired with Malivoire Pinot Noir

Grilled Chicken Salad w toast points – What you say is what you get. I did pick up a hint of Moroccan spice

Paired with Zweigelt (producer??)

Rib eye of Beef with bean, potato sauté and herb jus – The best dish arrived 15 min after everything else had been eaten. The bartender apologized and gave us another glass of the Mitchell Shiraz on the house.

All in all – a nice (and super cheap) lunch. I’m interested enough to definitely give dinner a try.

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I haven't tried to get in but it's on my way when I leave work.

It's _always_ packed. Every day of the week. Always people queuing up....

Definitely a better bet to try it a lunch time.

"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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I went two Saturdays ago at about 9:30pm. Two of us popped in on the off chance that they might have room, we had about a 5 minute wait. However, a line up formed up shortly after and it appeared that people were having to wait at least 30 minutes.

Edited by bobsdf (log)
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Was there last Friday night around 8:45 with my fiancee and a friend. It's harder for 3 people to get a table or at the bar. They told us we might have to wait till 10 but we ended up waited only for 30mins while sipping cava at the waiting area.


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I understand there are no reservations; has anyone tried to get in lately? How hard would be to snag a table for 2 on a Wednesday? Or a Saturday?

I'd love to try it, but I don't want to waste a baby sitting night waiting in line or settling for the Beer Markt.

On saturday, they had asked me if I had a reservation (maybe just a lunch or a saturday thing)

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I've been there tuedsay night.

The restaurant was full. I was alone and have been seated immediately but parties of 2/3 people

had a wait of 10/15 minutes.

The place was quite loud and I felt, for some reason, that service was a bit disorganised

but nevertheless very friendly. One waiter was knowledgeable about wine but you'd expect that when

you enter a wine bar :smile:

It's only the second time I've been there but again, it was quite good.

To start with, I've noticed Jacquesson Champagne by the glass. That's remarkable because I have

rarely seen this, even in France. Besides, Jacquesson is one of my favourite Champagne with

Selosse and Bollinger so it was a quite nice surprise.

I had the vegetable gnocchis paired with the Shaw&Smith Chardonnay. The gnocchis were really

good, chewy but not sticky. A real nice "vegetable" feel from the creamy sauce. A nice dish.

The wine was far too cold so the flavours were a bit "hidden". A shame because once warmed up,

it showed to be crisp, fruity (exotic) and "refreshing". It's nice to have an unaoked chardonnay :smile:

Lamb poutine with Yukon Gold frites paired with Zweigelt (can't remember producer either).

Very nice indeed. The lamb reduction is great and the fries really good. A quite salty dish

with the cheese adding saltiness. But the pairing worked really well. Another nice one.

Meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes and onion jus. Good. Not enough garlic to my taste and

the onion jus was a bit "soft" but a very good meatloaf even though I'm not a big fan of it in general.

Paired with the Sandstone Gamay. Wow, a nice surprise. Very extracted wine, spicy, fruity

quite full bodied for a gamay. I did not know Sandstone but their gamay is a hit, IMHO,

because I'm not usually fond of over-extracted wines.

Bread and butter for dessert with a sherry (can't remember which, I was not taking notes...).

Pleasant dessert without too much sugar which is very welcomed. Sherry was good but I did

not find it outstanding.

It was fairly cheap for what was delivered.

I'll definitely go back there.

"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been to this place twice now and the services is absolutely horrible. No complaints about the food which is fantastic. The last time I went, I was with a large group and the waiter insisted we choose one white and one red for the entire table to make it easier for ourselves. I was shocked that at a WINE BAR he would make this suggestion. In any case, go for the food if you can tolerate the service.

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